Throughout the year Villanova University hosts minors (under the age of 18) in a variety of youth programs and activities such as, pre-collegiate programs, service-learning opportunities, STEM education, athletic camps and clinics, Student Involvement and Mission and Ministry dedicated activities. Villanova values the welfare and protection of minors and has policies and processes in place to ensure the safety of youth participating in our programs and activities.
Protecting children is the responsibility of all of us. In that April is recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention month, we take this opportunity to remind our faculty, staff, and students about their obligations as mandated reporters. Within our community the following members are considered mandated reporters and are required to report suspected child abuse:
- faculty and staff who come into direct contact with minors as part of your employment
- students and volunteers of Villanova University who accept responsibility for a child as an integral part of a program, activity or service sponsored by Villanova
- Clergy, Priests and other spiritual leaders of a regularly established church or other religious organization
- Independent contractors who provide services to the University relating to the care, supervision, guidance, or control of a child and who have direct contact with a child in such role, also have a duty to report suspected child abuse.
In general, reportable child abuse encompasses intentional or reckless actions or omissions that cause, or are reasonably likely to cause: bodily injury, death, or serious mental injuries to a child; sexual abuse/sexual exploitation of a child; or serious physical neglect of a child.
Reports are made either electronically at www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis or by calling Childline at 1-800-932-0313.
When in doubt, it is always best to report. As Program Directors and Faculty Advisors to our Villanova students, faculty members and staff may be asked by our students for guidance regarding the specifics on how to report. Please do not feel you are alone in answering these questions. There are offices that can assist you including the University Compliance Office, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, and the Department of Public Safety.
Resources and Related Policies
- Report of Suspected Child Abuse CY47 Form
- Pennsylvania Child Information Solution – Child Welfare Portal (to report known or suspected child abuse electronically)
- Minors in Villanova University Programs Policy
- Minors in the Laboratory Policy
- Villanova University Guidelines for Conducting Virtual Minors Programs and Activities
Villanova’s Child Abuse Reporting Policy is designed to educate Villanova University community members regarding the requirements under Pennsylvania law for reporting suspected cases of child abuse. This Policy explains under what circumstances suspected child abuse must be reported and the process for reporting.
Any person who makes a good faith report of child abuse may not be subjected to discharge from employment or employment discrimination or retaliation on the basis of such report.
Failure by any member of the Villanova community to report information related to suspected child abuse in accordance with this Policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination for employees and dismissal for students. Pennsylvania law also imposes criminal penalties for a willful failure to comply with these state-mandated reporting requirements.
A Message from the University Compliance Office:
“Child abuse is a betrayal of trust and abuse of power that causes pain and suffering to children, their families, and erodes our communities. All members of our University community have a responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of minors who visit our campus or participate in our events. Under Pennsylvania law, our personal obligation to act and report child abuse cannot be delegated to a third person.“
Leyda Benitez, University Compliance Officer